Mersana is advancing next-generation antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs), a drug class that marries specific cancer antigen targeting with potent anti-cancer therapeutics. While ADCs are a promising therapeutic approach for cancer treatment, current approaches to ADC drug candidates have limitations that are addressed by Mersana's proprietary conjugation technologies, including greater cytotoxic payload, higher avidity for target cells, better tumor penetration, and improved stability achieved with optimized linkers.
Mersana's ADCs are novel conjugates of a highly potent cytotoxic drug, an antibody targeted to specific target receptors on tumors, the Fleximer® polymer backbone and differentiated, customized linkers that are designed to optimally link antibody and drug to the polymer. The antibody targets the conjugate directly to tumor cells, where the conjugate is then internalized and its therapeutic payload is released.
The Fleximer polymer is customized to improve the pharmacokinetics of targeting moieties such as antibody fragments, and also to optimize the quantity of cytotoxic payload carried per targeted conjugate. Separate custom linkers provide optimal stability characteristics of the drug-polymer linkage as well as the targeting moiety-polymer linkage. Furthermore, the load of targeting moiety can be increased to provide stronger antibody binding, by loading multiple targeting moieties on a single conjugate. Fleximer also enables greater diversity of both therapeutic payloads and targeting moieties, which results in the ability to utilize more mechanisms-of-action and to address more tumor types.
Mersana's ADCs are currently being evaluated in preclinical studies.
The Mersana ADC program has achieved preclinical proof-of-concept, demonstrating that Fleximer-based ADCs retain antigen binding and are internalized into tumor cells, and that more efficient targeting and improved efficacy are achieved. Preclinical studies of Mersana's ADCs have demonstrated their impact on various tumors in in vivo models of cancer.
Mersana currently holds the worldwide rights to its ADC candidates and small molecule cytotoxic payloads. We are interested in discussing partnership opportunities with leading antibody companies surrounding the development of novel ADC candidates, as well as with companies that could benefit from utilizing our technologies to build next-generation ADCs.
We are also interested in exploring potential opportunities to in-license novel antibody fragments and additional broadly active cytotoxics for use as payloads with our proprietary ADCs.